TTP divided in Kuram Agency
Many unexpected happenings in Kurram Agency are grabbing the attention of analysts, journalists and onlookers. One such incident happened on 26th June. The head of TTP Fazal Saeed Haqani who was apointed the head of Tehrike-e-Taliban Pakistan Kurrum Agency by Hakimullah Mahsud in November 2010 called a press conference in Lower Kurrum and announced that he was parting ways with TTP and would form separate faction of TTP in Kurrum Agency. He purports regarding his change of mind that TTP is involved in attacks on civilians and are carrying out suicide attacks inside mosques. He clearly said that he is against the murderous killings of civilians and attacks on mosques so he has no other option but to deviate from the TTP’s ideology. He also announced during the press conference the formation of his new group by the name of Tehreek-e-Taliban Islami Pakistan in Kurrum Agency. He maintained that he enjoys the support of local militants of Kurrum Agency.
According to the bio date available to the scribe, Fazal Saeed Haqani is said to be in early forties. He belongs to the village of Ochat in Lower Kurrum area of Kurrum Agency. He is the son of Haji Sultan who is a famous figure in his native village. Fazal Saeed is the eldest among seven brothers. Fazal Saeed is just five feet tall which distinguishes him from other Taliban fighters who are mostly well built with stuffed physique. Some reports reveal about his past that earlier he was a class four category government employee who worked as a tube well operator in his village.
Fazal Saeed is not a new comer in the arena of Jahad as he is involved in this field since mid eighties when he was just a teenager. He fought in Afghanistan against the Russians during the Afghan jihad from 1979 till 1989. He was, at that time, affiliated with the legendry Mujahedeen commander Jalal u Din Haqani. When the Russians were expelled from Afghanistan Fazal Saeed kept on fighting against the communist puppet government of Dr. Najibullah. When Mujahedeen overthrew his government in 1992 Fazal Saeed came back to his native area in lower Kurrum and stayed there.
Fazal Saeed felt extremely restive when Americans invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 and toppled Taliban regime. This instigated him to form his own Jahadi organization in Kurram Agency for the revival of Taliban government in Kabul. He vowed to fight out American and NATO forces out of Afghanista. Fazal Saeed soon gathered dozens of men around him and began to take part in the across the border attacks on the American and NATO forces inside Afghanistan. In December 2007 when TTP was formed by Baitullah Mahsud Fazal Saeed joined this organization and began to work as a TTP commander in Kurrum Agency.
Fazal Saeed is also involved in attacks on Pakistani security forces in Kurrum Agency. Pakistani government has offered five million Pakistani rupees to any one for bringing in Fazal Saeed dead or alive. He is also actively involved in the sectarian clashes between the Shia and Sunni Sects in Kurrum agency which are going on since April 2007 in the agency. Due to these reasons Fazal Saeed has been disowned by his father because his father gave him two choices; either to give up militant activity or leave his house. Fazal Saeed opted for the second option and left his father’s home to live a life a Mujahid in hideouts.
During the sectarian clashes in the agency between the Shia and Sunni sects Fazal Saeed recruited dozens of Wazir and Mahsud militants of South and North Waziristan to use them against the Shia sect during the sectarian clashes in the agency.
Currently Fazal Saeed is occupying a portion of the Thall Parachinar road which is closed for the Shias commuter of Kurrum Agency. Majority of the shia tavellers have to travel with the military conveys if they are moving to Peshawar. For further routes they are compelled to follow road through Afghanistan. First they enter Afghanistan via Kurram and then reenter Pakistan through Peshawar.
While analyzing the scenario created by this tumultuous development it is evident that the separation of Fazal Saeed Haqani from TTP would be a great setback for the TTP in Kurrum Agency because he is considered the most powerful local militant commander in Kurrum Agency. The reason is that he said to be accompanied by more than five hundred militants in his group. Moreover, he has the support of the local militants of Kurrum Agency and it is expected that many local militants who are not happy with the activities of TTP in Kurrum Agency would Join Fazal Saeed Haqani group which will eventually increase his power and influence in the area.
According to FRC sources Fazal Saeed has been removed from the headship of TTP Kurrum Agency a few days before his announcement of leaving the TTP and forming his own group. It is said that the TTP top leadership has apointed a new commander to head the TTP in Kurrum Agency. The new commander of the TTP is said to be from Waziristan. His name could not be known by the FRC correspondent. Fazal Saeed refused to accept the new head for TTP Kurrum Agency and formed his own militant group in the Agency.
Ahsanullah Ahsan TTP chief spokesman also confirmed this in a telephonic interview with FRC correspondent on 28th June said that Fazal Saeed has been expelled from the TTP by TTP leadership due to his involvement in criminal activities in the agency. He has always been rebellious and creating trouble for the TTP in Kurrum Agency and that’s why he has been expelled from the TTP. Ahsanullah Ahsan also said that TTP would punish Fazal Saeed for disobeying and forming a separate group in Kurrum Agency.
There is a strong possibility that Fazal Saeed may get involved in fighting with the TTP in Lower Kurrum Agency and there are chances as well that clashes may resume between Mullah Toofan who is the head of TTP chapter of Orakzai Agency and was the former Amir of TTP Kurrum Chapter before the appointment of Fazal Saeed as the head of TTP in Kurrum Agency. TTP wouldlike to get rid of Fazal Saeed like Hakim Khan and Rafique Bangash both were locals of Kurrum Agency and has tried to resist the control of Mullah Toofan and his non local TTP Taliban in Kurrum Agency in 2010 to discourage other commanders from defection and opposing TTP orders.
Analysts closely following these developments in the area are of the opinion that Fazal Saeed would try to get close to the government and Pakistani army to save himself from the wrath of the TTP because it would be difficult for him to resist the TTP militants on his own for a long time. The government and security forces could also benefit from the separation of Fazal Saeed from the TTP because they can use Fazal Saeed and his men in the expected military operation by the Pakistani army in Central and Lower Kurrum areas of Kurrum Agency against the TTP militants. Army could also be able to reopen the Thall Parachinar road with the help of Fazal Saeed because this area is under the control of Fazal Saeed for the use of both Sunni and Shia travelers to reach Peshawar and other parts of the country which would increase the prestige of the government in the eyes of the local people of Kurrum Agency. Fazal Saeed Haqani could prove a good asset for the Pakistani army in Kurrum Agency in defeating and cleansing the Agency of TTP militants and to bring back peace to the Agency.